L-R: Akinbode Oluwafemi, CAPPA Executive Director, Comrade Musa Ukpo, Acting Gen-Sec of AUPCTRE, Aderonke Ige, Associate Director, CAPPA, and Comrade Benjamin Anthony, AUPCTRE National President.
The civil society groups and labour unions have appealed to the federal government of Nigeria to trash the obnoxious National Water Bill, which is before the House of Representatives currently.
They said that attempts to foist the National Water Resources Bill on Nigerians despite popular opposition was reflective of a culture of insensitivity of the Nigerian government to the genuine needs of Nigerians in the water and other sectors of the economy.
Recall that the eighth National Assembly had thrown out the bill before for lack of merit, while the executive arm of the government smuggled it in again.
The groups – the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), Public Services International (PSI) and the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) – gave the advice at a one-day Labour, Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and Communities’ consultation on the National Water Bill 2020 on Wednesday February 10, 2021 in Lagos.
They reaffirmed opposition to the contentious National Water Resources Bill, while urging the government to kick-start a fresh community-based process which will entail consultation with Nigerians from the initial stages through the entire process at the National Assembly.
The groups also advised the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to respect the genuine wishes of Nigerians expressed through the media and other public channels and stop its promotion of the “toxic National Water Bill.”
They appealed to the Federal Government to embrace public sector solutions in addressing the water challenges of
Nigeria including the Public-Public-Partnership model and National Water Trust Fund which had been tested and found effective in other climes.
They pointed out that Privatization, including the PPP model of water privatization had been proven to be a false solution worldwide, which will only enrich a few and burden the people with endless debts and increase in poverty.
Besides, they called for a comprehensive data on both water infrastructure investment and access to aid planning for the now and the future.
They advised the government at all levels to embrace democratic decision-making in addressing water shortages.
The Executive Director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, also called on Nigerians to resist the bill, which he said was anti-people.
He said that solidarity had been key in forcing the hands of government hence the need for groups to continue mobilizing and engaging to ensure that the will of the people stands.